Monday, November 17, 2014

If your mama dont cook......

I've never been a fan of cooking. Truth be told I just don't have a great imagination when it comes to food. Don't get me wrong I love to eat. My waist line is proof positive of that. But seriously I never had a knack for what kinds of seasoning and spices to use with what kind of meat. Or what sides would perfectly compliment a dish. 

I like meat. I like veggies. 

I'm the kind of person who...yep...I'm going to say it....will just mix everything up on my plate and eat it. It grosses my kids out. I admit its a little cave womanish but hey it's all going to the same place *shrug* right?

Anyway all of this is to say that I wasn't always like this. For starters as a kid I was a super picky eater. Drove my mom bat-shit. She gave up cooking because of me. My brother and sister...normal. Me....NOT!! 
Then I grew up and became a smoker and unknowingly at the time couldn't even taste food the same. So by the time I got married I would cook things but always used a ton of salt because everything tasted so bland. It wasn't until much later when I quit smoking that I would realize how wonderful food tasted and rarely use salt again. Which was when I began to love food the most. Which is when I got FAT! ;) Ok when I got REAL FAT ;) 

That was 7 years ago!! 

Holy shit! 

Moving on from that crazy realization of how quickly time flies right the fuck past ya.... 

Jay loves to cook, fortunate for me.  
And he's really good. Very fortunate for me.
This Fall with his new job and the fact that he's trying to get the other house completed he's been working some nights until almost 9 pm. So I've been taking the dinner responsibility. Which for obvious reasons is ok and not the reason for this post. 

Since I have taken over dinner the fact that my cooking skills SUCK has become glaringly obvious. And I am so sick of pasta, yea me the Italian, is completely sick of pasta. I crave meat and veggies. I decided to do a little research. Some research on how a seemingly hopeless cause like myself could possibly cook something other than pasta or chicken nuggets. Blech!!! Blech!!! Blech!!!

*keep in mind I will still have to cook pasta because I have 3 extremely picky eaters (hmm wonder where they get that from) two of whom literally wont eat meat. 

So here's my criteria:
*3 picky eaters who will only eat pasta or french fries
*easy enough even I cant fuck up
*normal ingredients for this still semi - picky eater 
*still within a budget for a single income household
*I'm not cooking two meals every night

 My solutions:

Here is something I didn't know I could do. I can cook a large batch of pasta early in the week say Sunday evening or Monday and keep it refrigerated all week and just reheat the individual servings when needed. So that takes care of my picky eaters. And I taste tested the pasta to make sure its not horrible. Just rinse it with some warm water to loosen it then toss in the microwave for a couple of minutes depending on how much you need. 2 minutes per plateful is usually pretty sufficient. Then add sauce or butter (I have one of those) and done. 

I have rediscovered my Crock Pot!
Yep that's the answer. It pretty much checks everything else off my criteria list. I mean who can seriously fuck up anything in a crock pot I ask you? Not even me. Still normal ingredients. Meat, veggies, hell they even make several different types of all spice mixes and even crock pot spice pouches etc. so its pretty damn normal and easy. You can get fancy...but you don't have to. And that's the most awesome thing about it. It also falls within a reasonable budget since most things can be bought in bulk especially if you get a little ahead of the game and do freezer batch cooking. And that leads into the last criteria I am NOT cooking two meals every night. So there I don't have to. I hardly have to cook any. Lets recap. 

I get up and take a large freezer bag out of the fridge (where I placed it from the freezer the night before) and dump its contents into the crock pot set it according to the instructions on the bag and pretty much forget it exists for several hours. 




My house smells like someone has been cooking something delicious all day (that would be Moi) and now after homework is done I set the table. Now comes the part where I might need to spend a whole 30 - 45 minutes actually preparing the meal by making the rice or whatever side veggie or rolls etc that might accompany the meal and heat up some spaghetti from the fridge (3 kids = 6 mins total in the microwave) and get it all set on the table. And sometimes if we're lucky Jay will actually make it home in time to eat a hot dinner with us. 

Basically I think I've finally got a lock on just how to feed my whole family the things they love at the same time without losing my mind or burning the house down. I've only just started out so I admit there have already been a few nights of "oh screw it we're ordering pizza" or "hey kids its cereal for dinner" but hey we can't all be perfect. Whatever!

I've gotten some really great ideas from some pretty neat blogs. As soon as I finish testing them I'll post links. I want to be able to give an honest opinion. So far so good. 

That's it for now. 
To the Crock Pot and beyond!

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